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Go wild on the harbourside

Bristol's annual Festival of Nature brings the Arctic and Borneo to Bristol in June as the event returns for its fourth year.

Families enjoy the harbourside. Image: Marc Jacobs
The harbourside comes to life for the festival

The weekend of 2-3 June, 2007 will see a feast of family events including walks, talks, photography, films and animal encounters.

There will also be an emphasis on how to do your bit to save the planet and have a beneficial impact on the local environment.

The BBC will be using the festival to launch its Breathing Places campaign, which aims to get people actively involved in creating new nature-friendly places in their communities.

At the event you can find out how your children can become a Springwatch Tracker, get up close to some wildlife and find out about planting trees and making nest boxes.

You will also be able to take home a map of Bristol’s greenest places if you fancy exploring the wilder side of the city and you find out about outdoor activities to help you get fitter as well as greener.

“The Bristol Festival of Nature offers an invaluable opportunity to look at nature and conservation from both a global and local perspective," said Savita Custead, Director of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, which organises the festival.

Do one thing

"You will travel to the Arctic, visit Borneo and discover the many wildlife sites in Bristol, all in the same weekend."

It's also a year for celebrating anniversaries. 2007 marks 50 years since the establishment of the world-famous Bristol-based BBC Natural History Unit, the 100th anniversary of natural history filmmaking and 25 years since the first Wildscreen festival.

Flora and fauna

If city wildlife is your bag, the festival, which last year welcomed 25,000 visitors over the two days, is your chance to take a boat trip around the harbour and discover more about its flora and fauna from local experts.

And there's an opportunity for photographers to take a walk along the waterfront and learn tips on successfully snapping wildlife from professionals.

For children, there are wild stories to be enjoyed, Avon Wildlife Trust nest boxes to build, astronomy to explore and a chance to get up close and personal with animals from Bristol Zoo.

There will also be a 'good food' market where you can stock up on produce and products from local suppliers.

BBC Points West and Radio Bristol presenters will be on hand to tell you about the one thing they plan to do to make their natural world a better place.

Free seeds

The University of the West of England is also getting involved, with staff sharing a large marquee entitled Investigating Nature with At-Bristol and Bristol City Museum.

Visitors can find out about endangered species and the simple things everyone can do to have a beneficial impact on our local wildlife and preserve the planet’s fragile ecosystems.

Busy bee by Margaret Webb

Scientist Sarah Hicks explained: “As part of the extinction theme we will be highlighting the plight of the bee, which is becoming endangered, and what people can do to alleviate the problem by growing certain types of flowers.

"We are giving away packets of bee garden flower seeds to the first 300 participants to get involved in the UWE’s Festival of Nature stall – this is our way of doing what we can to protect species in the local area.”

A team from UWE's Centre for Research in Plant Science will also be displaying medicinal plants which were used as traditional remedies, many of which are still used today as the basis of advanced pharmaceuticals.

These plants are used in the treatment of conditions such as cancer, malaria, heart conditions and depression.

There will also be interactive demonstrations aimed at getting people of all ages interested in science, which will be performed outside at the Harbourside, weather permitting.

So, find out more about the science behind tricks such as impaling a balloon on a kebab stick without it bursting, and blowing the top off a film canister using an indigestion tablet.

last updated: 30/05/07
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